Miked Up
Bass Player|March 2020
Miked Up
Jazz maestro and record label owner Michael Janisch digs deep

I’m 40 now, and although I started playing piano at four and electric bass at 10, I honestly feel like I’m just starting; just getting to where I’ve wanted to be. For double bass, I was around 21 when I really got serious and put the time in. My mom had a great record collection, and it was full of some of the best bassists in history, with loads of Motown, so I think that had a big effect.

My dad went to an 80-year-old man’s house who had advertised in the local paper that he wasn’t able to play anymore. He had an old 1960s Gibson EB-0 bass for sale, so he went and bought it for $200. It had the pickup touching the neck and everything—a serious classic. I’ll never forget that bass, because the old man they bought it from had been a rocker for years and he had a naked woman painted underneath the strings between the pickup and the bridge. My mom scratched it off with a knife so I didn’t see it. She scratched right through the laquer. The bass ended up getting stolen when I was about 17 years old. I was never, and am still not, a big tech head when it comes to bass gear, so we never got it appraised, or even figured out what actual year it was. I really miss that bass, and never found out who stole it, although I always suspected it was an older bassist at my school, who was mad that I took his chair in the high school jazz band... I’ll never know for sure.

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March 2020